Category Archives: NYQ

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The latest articles from Nottingham Young Quakers group.

Halloween 2017

Since University Hallowe’en has been one of my favourite times of the year. To me, it is a great chance to get together with friends and have fun without having to navigate the maze of social rituals that seem inherent to the way our society celebrates some of the other special occasions. Even better, this year brought with it not one but two NYQ Hallowe’en celebrations!

The first event was held at the Meeting House earlier in October: a spooky bring and share supper followed by the puritan horror film The VVitch.

As it was Hallowe’en, a horror film seemed appropriate, but there was only one problem: most of us (myself included) don’t like jump scares! Fortunately, I found a website listing horror films with few jump scare, if any. From there we developed a shortlist, and a poll of the NYQs selected The VVitch as our Hallowe’en film. Here’s what IMDb says about it:

“A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.”

It received a Rotten Tomatoes  Tomatometer rating of 91%, with critics scoring it an average of 7.8/10. They said:

“As thought-provoking as it is visually compelling, The Witch delivers a deeply unsettling exercise in slow-building horror that suggests great things for debuting writer-director Robert Eggers.”

I… can’t say that the NYQs were in agreement. After making it through the film’s 92 minutes there was stunned silence, and then laughter. Jaz (who had been The VVitch’s main advocate) immediately apologised, and we then set about dissecting everything we didn’t like about the film. In short: it had some really cool ideas, I personally really liked the idea of the ending, and someone had clearly put a lot of work into researching 17th century beliefs about witchcraft, but it did not come together well. SPOILER ALERT: The characters who openly worship the family’s black goat are, in fact, in league with the devil.

Still, watching a terrible horror film together was a bonding experience, and in a strange way we all had a good night.

For the second part of our Hallowe’en celebrations we attended The Final Girls Present We Are the Weirdos  at Broadway cinema. This was 82 minutes of short, horror-themed films from female voices, and therefore the second year the NYQ Hallowe’en festivities had involved feminist cinema.

With the exception of Undress Me (which was just plain weird), we found something to like in most of the films, which covered a huge range of styles and subjects. Dead. Tissue. Love. was a darkly fascinating monologue over short, artistically-shot, thematically relevant footage; Don’t Think of a Pink Elephant was a claymation exploration of intrusive thoughts; Pulse had the audience audibly squirming as the haunting presence became physically manifest; and Shortcut was an unashamedly ridiculous tale of cheating boyfriend getting exactly what he deserved, leaving the audience in hysterics.

After the films there was a quiz in the bar, but I don’t like quizzes and the rest of the group couldn’t find a space, so we decided to cut our losses and head home.

This was the second year I have celebrated Hallowe’en with NYQ, and I had a fantastic time. I hope for many more in the future!

Young Quakers at Pride

On Saturday 29th July 2017 Nottingham Young Quakers marched together in the Nottinghamshire Pride Parade 2017. This was a great opportunity for minority orientation, gender identity and intersex (MOGII) NYQs and their allies to celebrate the progress that has been made towards acceptance and legal equality for MOGII people in the UK* and show solidarity with those around the world who still suffer discrimination, persecution or worse because of who they are.

We arrived well-equipped for the celebrations, with placards, ‘Queer and Quaker’ themed clothing, rainbow face paint, various pride flags, a bubble machine and temporary tattoos of the official Quaker Pride Q (shout-out to to Nikolas Dadson for making the Pride Q a reality)!

Rainbow face paintTemporary tattoosTemporary face tattoo

Queer and Quaker t-shirt

Queer and Quaker t-shirtQuaker Pride badge on a hat

I had designed the clothing and badges in consultation with other NYQs to include the colours of various pride flags (a fairly comprehensive guide can be found here)**. We chose to use the ‘more color more pride’ rainbow to show our appreciation for the queer people of colour who were at the forefront of the original pride movement and our solidarity with those who continue to experience racism within the queer community today. These designs were sold through a print-to-order website and the £34 profit I made from selling these products to NYQs (including myself!) will be donated to ReachOUT Leeds, a support charity for LGBT+ refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. It is hoped that in the future I will be able to make these designs available to other queer-identifying Quakers.

Banner: We affirm the love of God for all people, whatever their sexual orientationThe weather was warm and the atmosphere was friendly. Indeed, I must have been giving off some kind of particularly friendly and helpful vibe because as we were forming up I was approached by a complete stranger asking if they could borrow my pansexual pride flag for a performance they were doing at the end of the parade! Of course I agreed, and near the end of the march I split off from the rest of the NYQs to make my way to the stage.

The person I spoke to turned out to be part of a group called Nottingham BiTopia (Facebook, Twitter) who were giving a performance entitled ‘The Bisexuality Briefing’. Unfortunately I can find no recordings of the performance online, but the key focus was on debunking many of the myths surrounding bisexuality and people who are bisexual or otherwise don’t fit neatly into the gay/straight dichotomy. If you’d like to know more, the GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) website has an article addressing some of the myths to get you started. They also spoke about bi erasure, which Wikipedia says “is the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, the news media, and other primary sources.” This would include, for example, referring to the event we attended as gay pride, since that ignores the fact that many people there identified as bi/pansexual.

As I was waiting to collect my flag I was approached by the Lord Mayor of Nottingham, who started talking to me about the history of Quakers in Nottingham! At this point I had forgotten that I had the word QUAKER both emblazoned across my t-shirt and stuck to my face, so I was quite at a loss as to how he knew I was a Quaker! I did my best to make small talk (not my forte!) and then excused myself to join the rest of the NYQs at Wagamama.

It wouldn’t be an NYQ event without food, after all!

Tori


*It is worth noting that same-sex couples still cannot marry in Northern Ireland and different-sex couples still cannot form Civil Partnerships anywhere in the UK, although there is an active campaign seeking to challenge this.

**To the best of my knowledge, the NYQs attending pride included people who identified as gay, lesbian, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer and demisexual, although there may have been other groups represented as well!

Supporting refugees

nottinghamquakers.org.uk: NYQ at refugee support meeting

On Wednesday 21st June with the Refugee Crisis still continuing, Nottingham Quakers hosted a free public event to explore what work people and organisations are doing to support refugees. We invited representatives from various organisations who work supporting refugees. They attended to explain what work they do, the challenges they face and what we in Nottingham can do to help.

We had representation from:

Nottingham Arimathea Trust – A local charity who provides housing and support for people who have had their first claim for asylum refused.

Quaker Peace and Social Witness – Rooted in the convictions of Peace, Justice, Equality and Community; Quakers across Britain are working to welcome people seeking sanctuary.

ShareWear – a local charity involved in offering free clothing and bedding to those in crisis.

The Rainbow Project – a non-profit organisation working in partnership with the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham set up in 2001 to support to asylum-seekers and refugees in the Nottingham area.

Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity – part of a grassroots movement working to provide aid and support to refugees. Since they started out in August 2015 they have been involved in several convoys delivering vital aid to refugee camps in Europe.

Student Action for Refugees (STAR) – a national charity of 26,000 students who volunteer, campaign, fundraise and educate people on matters around refugees and asylum seekers. In Nottingham they run conversation classes for refugees and asylum seekers.

The British Red Cross – who amongst other services run a refugee support service within the city.

Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum – is an independent voluntary organisation and registered charity set up in 2000 to work with and for refugees and asylum seekers in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire offering practical advice, information, support and friendship.

Host Nottingham – a local organisation who aims to provide a referral into accommodation for destitute asylum seekers. They request hosts to provide basic accommodation for a destitute asylum seeker from a week to three months.

Representation from the City Council on Community Cohesion and Refugee Support.

There was also a chance to see a copy of “I Welcome: an Amnesty International & Magnum Photos exhibition“.

During the evening the representatives gave a short talk on what they do and highlighted their current challenges. Afterwards the real work began as everyone had the opportunity to discuss options for facing these challenges together. Organisations and individuals were able to start forging connections moving towards greater impact and we were able to secure funding for teaching Refugees and Asylum Seekers English! Since Nottingham Quakers agreed to becoming a Sanctuary Meeting in August we will all be able to come together to help further support events like these.

Tom


Challenges and How People Can Help

Challenges

  • Sharewear – partners to distribute
  • Housing space
  • Legal representation
  • Complex cases needing specialised provision
  • Hate Crime / Vulnerability
  • Funding
  • Varying levels of volunteers – seasonal / linked to term times.

How people can help

  • Volunteering Placements
  • Contacts – Landlords
  • Mentors / Befrienders
  • Housing Volunteers
  • English Teaching / Conversations
  • Fundraising
  • Donations
  • Supporting Food Banks
  • Foster Care Placements
  • Tuesday Night Conversational English Classes
  • Resources for teaching
  • Space to do work
  • Help to enable women to access support
  • Places to signpost support
  • HOST – week – 3 month refugee placement in your home
  • Bringing organisations (with capacity) together.